On Saturday night, Chicago White Sox slugger Jose Abreu continued to cement himself as one of the most prolific power hitters in franchise history. With his three-run home run in the sixth inning of the club's 10-1 dismantling of the Houston Astros, Abreu tied White Sox legend Carlton Fisk with 214 home runs in a White Sox uniform, good for fourth-most all-time.
Abreu will take sole position of the list's fourth spot in the very near future. He can then turn his sights towards Hall of Famer Harold Baines, who sits just seven away in third place with 221 long balls.
Paul Konerko (432) and Frank Thomas (448) will remain the ultimate stretch-goals for Abreu. At 34 years old, he would most likely need to play well into his 40's to surpass the two White Sox greats. However, if there's anything fans on the South Side know, it's that you can never count out #MVPito.
While making franchise history should be celebrated, Abreu would surely say these individual accomplishments are secondary to the team's success. But the beauty of this situation is that Abreu continuing to climb up the franchise home run leaderboard would provide a power injection down the home stretch for an injury-riddled 2021 White Sox club that has lofty October goals.
Despite owning the third-best run differential (+124) in all of baseball, the White Sox rank 23rd in home runs with 99. Injuries to Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, and Yasmani Grandal are certainly major reasons for the long ball total still remaining under the century mark, but the healthy heavy hitters in the lineup have not left the yard as frequently as desired to date. Abreu's 16 home runs lead the team, but that figure ranks tied for 40th across the league.
Luckily, the White Sox showed signs of a power surge over their last two games. In addition to Abreu's blast, four other White Sox hitters turned on the fireworks Saturday night. In Sunday's series finale, Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson each recorded a solo home run. The White Sox enjoyed a few similar short stretches of home run-heavy outings prior to the All-Star break, but finding consistency in the power department will make life easier all around for the South Siders.
Now, doing so is easier said than done. But this is where the White Sox de facto captain can the lead the charge. As I chronicled following Jose Abreu's 200th home run, the first baseman has been a bonafide leader on and off the field since arriving in Chicago as a 27-year-old in 2014. His 25.8 WAR over that time has earned him Rookie of the Year honors, three All-Star appearances and Silver Sluggers, and the aforementioned MVP Award. Abreu has stuck through all the ups and downs that came with this rebuild. He did it with poise, and never complained. He has produced consistently year over year, and poured his heart and soul into this team. What better way to enjoy the fruits of that dedication than by making a statement with the long ball to propel the White Sox toward their ultimate goal?
If Abreu picks up the pace in the power department as fellow sluggers return from their respective injured list stints, the White Sox will be a force to be reckoned with in the second half of the season and on into October. Manufacturing runs and getting production from depth players helped the White Sox get to where they are right now, but there's even more offensive potential to unearth via the long ball. As the Sox On Tap crew likes to say, "Ball go far, team go far." Jose Abreu can help set the White Sox up for a long postseason run while simultaneously climbing up the franchise home run leaderboard if he starts leaving the yard on a more consistent basis.